OCEANSIDE — Oceanside police canines were given two bulletproof vests on June 30. The vests were donated by Oceanside Elks Club, at a cost of $885 each.
Oceanside Police Lt. Leonard Cosby said police dogs are in the same danger as officers on the job. He added that dogs are not usually sent into a situation if it’s known the suspect is armed, but sometimes it does happen.
“The best thing to do is provide protection for the dog,” Cosby said.
Cosby said the donation came as a surprise to him and fellow officers.
A member of the Elks Club heard of the department’s need, and brought the request to the club’s attention.
“Some of their members are on MainStreet and heard about it through MainStreet,” Cosby said. “Neither Sgt. Novak (current sergeant and former canine handler) nor I know how MainStreet found out.”
“This is the first time in many years that a civic/community group has come forward and done something like this for the K-9 program.”
A ceremony was held at the Elks Lodge to formally present the vests to police canine and officer/handler teams.
The two vests were donated to the two teams that work with the SWAT unit.
Oceanside has four police canine and handler teams. There are plans to raise funds for two more vests, so all teams will have needed gear.
Bulletproof vests were last purchased for police canines in 2000.
“These were the early days for such things, and the vests were very bulky and not functional,” Cosby said.
Cosby said officers are moved by the donation, and are very appreciative.